Getting the know the Altea XL

* Year-long Altea XL test * Photographer's life with the car * Magical boot, annoying niggles elsewhere...

08 September 2008
Getting the know the Altea XL

I picked up the Altea from Spur Garage in Hampton, Middlesex (020 8941 9848), where sales manager Ian Brookfield gave me a tour of the car.

However, it was only after living with the Altea for a while that I really came to appreciate the clever little touches that enhance daily life.

These included the power points in the boot that meant I could charge up my camera kit on the move, the one-touch parcel shelf release, and the full-width grab handle to shut the boot. Small things with a big positive effect.

However, a couple of stones had a negative effect on my early days with the Altea the first one took out a front foglight, and the second started a windscreen crack.

RAC Auto Windscreens (0800 919 700) came along and replaced it under my insurance while I was at work, which was convenient. The foglight wasn't cheap to replace, at 101.

The more I drove the car through the dank nights of winter, the more I came to love the headlights.

I'm sure they were bright enough to awaken hibernating animals, and they made every journey less tiring on my eyes than it would otherwise have been. They represented 870 well spent.

However, the 250 I spent on the Bluetooth connection was a waste of money.

I never had any problem hearing the person on the line but, invariably, they couldn't hear me. Apparently, I always sounded like I had the window open. In a wind tunnel.

I had it all checked over at the car's first service, but everything { was in perfect working order. At least I think that's what the dealer said. It was bad enough to make me go back to my Bluetooth headset.